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Catalog Archive / Spring 2023

The Summers
Translated by Gary Schmidt

Winner of the Mara-Cassens Literature Prize

“A sensitive story of being torn in two, of being caught in the middle.”
MDR Kultur

The Summers narrates the coming of age of Leyla, who spends the school year in her mother’s home country of Germany but travels every summer to her father’s Kurdish village in Syria, near the Turkish border. There, with her grandparents and Yazidi friends, she comes alive. She knows the village’s smells and tastes; she knows the villagers’ stories. She knows where they keep their suitcases hidden, should they need to escape again.

As Leyla grows older, her sexual awakening takes a back seat to her cultural discoveries. She becomes increasingly disenchanted with her German classmates and friends’ indifference when ISIS troops enter the village, threatening the lives of her grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.

Thoughtful and poignant, The Summers addresses issues of gender, sexuality, cultural difference, politics, and identity. Ronya Othmann draws readers into multiple worlds, ultimately revealing the hopes and dreams that bind us all together when forces threaten to tear us apart.


Ronya Othmann. Photo credit, Cihan Cakmak. Ronya Othmann is an author, poet, and journalist whose work deals with themes of migration, homeland, and war. She has earned numerous awards, including the Leonhard and Ida Wolf Memorial Prize of the City of Munich and the MDR Literature Prize.

Gary Schmidt. Gary Schmidt, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Wright State University, is the author of The Nazi Abduction of Ganymede: Representations of Male Homosexuality in Postwar German Literature, cotranslator of What Makes a Man: Sex Talk in Beirut and Berlin, and coeditor of Quertext: An Anthology of Queer Voices from German-Speaking Europe.



Praise for the German Edition

“The story of a search for identity, but above all it is a cultural archive that is laid out with sparse literary flourishes, but wide-awake attention to detail and atmospheric undercurrents.”
Süddeutsche Zeitung

“Deals with the theme of identity without the usual kitsch that is so often used to write about origins.”

“A stunning debut novel, told concretely and vividly, with strong characters and dialogues.”
Deutschlandfunk Kultur Lesart

“Captivating. . . . The Summers is an intricate, powerful novel in which a woman comes of age between two worlds.”
Foreword Reviews



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Of Related Interest

Quertext: A black cover with the title text proclaimed in bold pink and black and white stripes. Design by Jeremy John Parker.

An Anthology of Queer Voices from German-Speaking Europe
Edited by Gary Schmidt and Merrill Cole

Half: A close-up photo of two women with their faces pressed together. The image is cut so that only one half of each face is visible. Where the faces meet, the title, Half, is written sideways, in large white font, in contrast to the orange hue of the picture.

Sharon Harrigan

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April 2023
LC: 2022028870 PT
210 pp. 5.5 x 8.5

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Paper $17.95
ISBN 9780299341046
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